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8 of the best lightweight foundations for your skin type

The best foundation has to tick a lot of boxes – evening out skin tone, concealing without masking and giving a glow while still looking natural. SUZANNE SCOTT puts the best lightweight formulas to the test


If you think ‘lightweight’ equals light or sheer coverage, think again. In fact, when it comes to foundation, lightweight really means a product that has been formulated in such a sophisticated way that you can’t feel it on your skin, no matter how much you apply. A brilliant lightweight foundation should be able to even out your skin tone, minimize the appearance of blemishes and broken veins and add a veil of vitality, all while still allowing you to touch your face, or take a call, without it transferring or smearing.

But our foundations need to do so much more than before, as they’re now required to withstand a mask or facial covering. Heavy foundations are not ideal – at the end of the day, your mask is often wearing more of it than you are. A durable, lightweight foundation is your best bet for going the distance with flawless skin. Read on for the best…

Best for dry skin… La Mer The Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation SPF20

This seriously silky foundation feels like an extension of La Mer’s incredible line-up of skincare. It is a fairly watery consistency, which may lead you to believe it lacks coverage, but in fact it perfectly evens out mild discoloration and will also cover a breakout or two. Its real magic, however, lies in its skincare-like formula: it contains the famous La Mer Miracle Broth, which really delivers in the hydration stakes and allows skin to glow without appearing greasy. A must-try.

Best for oily skin… Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick

Makeup artist Gucci Westman, founder of Westman Atelier, recommends applying this foundation straight from the stick and then blending it with your fingers. Unlike some stick foundations, this formula is subtle and buildable and leaves skin with a velvety, touchable finish, making it ideal for oily skin types. If you suffer from redness, you’ll be glad to know it’s enriched with phytosphingosine, a lipid that helps to reduce inflammation and redness.

Best for soothing stressed skin… Burberry Beauty Fresh Glow Gel Stick

This Burberry Beauty foundation does everything you would expect from a great base – brightens dark circles, conceals blemishes, evens out skin tone and makes you look rested, even when you’re not – but it is also remarkably cooling and calming. Aloe vera helps to take the heat off sensitivity and inflammation, plus its water-based formula is refreshing. It’s a brilliant option for whenever your skin feels overwrought.

Best for when you need more coverage… Serge Lutens Spectral Cream Foundation

This Serge Lutens foundation has a very creamy texture, and the coverage actually builds the more you work it into skin with your fingertips. However, despite its high coverage, you can barely feel it once it’s on. It’s a good go-to for public-speaking events or if you are expecting to have your photograph taken and want to feel secure that your skin is looking its best.

Best for summer in the city… Sisley Tinted Sun Care Stick SPF50+

Perfectly marrying sun protection with a touch of color, this tinted stick by Sisley is a smart makeup hybrid. Swipe it straight onto skin and blend with your fingers. It contains very high sun protection – making it ideal for hot summer days closer to home – and just enough pigment to even out your skin tone. As is recommended with SPF, you should be topping this up every two hours or so, but you will also need a tiny amount of concealer if you have blemishes you would like to disguise.

Best for boosting moisture… Kevyn Aucoin Foundation Balm in Light FB 02

Balms have a reputation for feeling weighty on the skin, but that couldn’t be further from the truth here. This silky, foolproof foundation from Kevyn Aucoin contains a bunch of hydrators, including hyaluronic acid, avocado oil and vitamin E, making it moisturizing and resistant to drying out over the course of the day. Thanks to its buttery texture, it melts into your skin, too, so even if your blending skills aren’t up to scratch, you’re still guaranteed a perfect finish.

Best for bare-face days… Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter

Technically, this formula from Charlotte Tilbury is not a foundation, but it is an excellent option on those days where your skin looks even and well-rested. It subtly evens out imperfections, reduces redness and adds a beautiful glow. Use the doe-foot applicator to apply it to your skin and blend it in with fingers.

Best for softening fine lines… Natura Bissé Diamond Cocoon Sheer Cream SPF30

What makes this sheer base by Natura Bissé such a standout product is how it both nourishes and protects your skin at the same time. Packed with antioxidants and skin-plumping hyaluronic acid, it also intelligently helps the skin retain moisture, leaving a finish that’s beautifully hydrated and sheer.

The models featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown